The Hydrogen Toyota Corolla Might Save the Planet and the Exhaust Note

For many car enthusiasts, the sound of a great engine and exhaust is one of the best parts of the car world. Silly as it may be, this has been many car nerds’ reluctance to get into the EV side of things. The lack of sound loses a key part of the driving experience for many drivers. Thankfully, Toyota has cracked the code on a savage-sounding exhaust for a hydrogen Toyota Corolla. 

Prototype hydrogen Toyota Corolla on the race track
Prototype hydrogen Toyota Corolla | Toyota Times

Do hydrogen cars make noise? 

Autoblog reports that as many EV makers struggle with the lack of sound, Toyota Times recently posted a video on YouTube of a hydrogen Toyota Corolla spec race car gurgling a throaty note before it takes off down the track. The sound is tremendous, and the Corolla isn’t making any harmful emissions. 

At first listen, you might not even notice that you weren’t hearing a normal gas-powered Toyota Corolla, but if you pay attention, you can hear some unfamiliar sounds mixed in with the rumble of a proper hot hatch. The other thing you may notice is the bizarre pasta strainer-esque exhaust tip. 

Who knew car nerds would have a hydrogen Toyota Corolla to thank for saving the exhaust note?

The Toyota test driver in the video, Hiroaki Ishiura, commented on the Toyota Corolla after taking a few hot laps saying, “It’s not as different [from a gasoline-powered vehicle] as I expected. It feels like a normal engine. [If I wasn’t told otherwise,] I’d probably think this is a normal engine.”

Upclose shot of the experimental hydrogen exhaust tip
Hydrogen Toyota Corolla | Toyota Times

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Like EVs, most hydrogen cars are almost completely silent. As Autoblog points out, even the Toyota Mira is ghostly silent. The way hydrogen cars typically work is by using a fuel cell that produces electricity and uses it to crank an electric motor into motion. However, the hydrogen Toyota Corolla goes about it in a different, cooler way. 

This experimental hydrogen Toyota Corolla uses a turbocharged three-cylinder that burns hydrogen instead of gasoline. The reason it sounds like a real car is because it is one. The engine is firing and thumping and carrying on just as the sounds would suggest. 

Toyota fully committed to seeing the testing process through on this one. Toyota is even planning to race it in the third round of Japan’s Super Taikyu racing series for 24 hours of racing on the Fuji Speedway. 

Will hydrogen cars like this actually get made? 

It is too early in the process to know whether a hydrogen Toyota Corolla will be feasible to take to production. The exciting part about this is that we might be inching toward a real solution to the carbon emission problem. 

The reality of everyone, or most, or even half of Americans making the switch to electric cars any time soon is a bit far-fetched. EVs are expensive and require serious infrastructure.

Automakers should follow in Toyota’s footsteps and figure out how to use gas engines as clean-fuel-burning engines. That would likely make the carbon-neutral goal much simpler.

In the meantime, watch the video and enjoy the not guilty sounds of a zero-emissions race car.